Enterprises in no hurry to adopt Windows 8

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 11, 2013

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Ever since Microsoft Windows 8 made its debut, it is making headlines for different reasons. Currently, a Gartner research reveals that enterprises will not be moving quickly to adopt Windows 8 in the next one year, until 2014 after which it may gradually be ready for enterprise adoption.

“There are no compelling reasons for enterprises to move to Windows 8 right away, unless tablet and mobile platforms become standard across the business,” informs Peter Sondergaard, Research Director at Gartner at a recent symposium, adding that 9 out of 10 enterprises will skip Windows 8 in the coming months.

When Windows 8 was launched in the end of October 2012, there was much apprehension on whether enterprises will adopt the new operating system soon. There was a mixed response regarding the new OS in the enterprise community according to Forrester Research. The research firm indicated that most enterprises are way too comfortable with Windows 7 and some of them have just started to migrate to Windows 7 from its predecessors and do not wish to disturb their existing setup.

“It is a common trait that enterprises do not jump into a new operating system shortly after it is released. Moving to a new OS demands a lot of planning and testing for any organization,” says Samit Ray, Director and CIO, PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited. Windows 8 will require a different level of training for the IT team. With new features and interfaces, its approach will be very different from the existing operating systems in the market, notably Windows 7 and therefore, it is obvious for companies to take time in terms of wide scale adoption, he believes.

Gartner had also cautioned that at times when enterprises do not favor a product, they often bypass it. Giving an example of Windows Vista, Sondergaard states that CIOs had shown a willingness to bypass Vista which never became a preferred choice for the business community. However, the same cannot be said about Windows 8 as the increased use of tablets and smartphones in the enterprise will drive the growth of this operating system in the coming years.

“Only if tablets overtake the PC market soon and everything starts running on tablets, we may see an uptake of Windows 8, which is not the possibility at present,” says Kumar Parkala, Head of Management Consulting - IT Advisory, KPMG in EMA,.

Windows 8 with its unique features can make an ideal consumer OS. However, high price is acting as a key dampener, followed by factors such as a weak global economy, its complex dual user interface and enterprises’ unwillingness to migrate from Windows 7 and Windows XP so soon. The OS will also continue to face competition from its arch rival Apple ipad that is going steady and is here to stay.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman of Microsoft India is however highly optimistic about Windows 8 OS. He believes that a lot of enterprise customers are actually moving into it and in the coming months, an increased number of organizations will go for it.

“While on one hand, the enterprise community is upbeat on BYOD that is been driven by the tablets market, on the other, Microsoft has made the OS much enterprise ready, adding new upgrades and features,” says Pramanik.

The OS not only comes with greater security from malware and viruses, but lets you expand your storage without needing to add new drive letters or moving applications and data across drives. It also encrypt your data faster and offers a number of different virtualization options that let you create multiple versions of the system on the same device. All these features have resulted in greater security and productivity – something enterprises seek in the devices, OS and apps they use.

Meanwhile, there has also been slight gain in the market share of Windows 8 from its initial days. Windows 8 market share recorded 2.26 percent in January, from 1.09 percent in November after its release. It has occupied a fifth position after Mac OS X 10.8 with a 2.44 percent share. Meanwhile, Windows 7 remained in first place with a 44.4 percent share, followed by Windows XP at 39.5 percent and Vista at 5.24 percent share.

However, at present Gartner analysts see highly selective deployment of Windows 8. In areas such as sales and marketing, and also for field workers in healthcare and logistics, where tablets and smartphones are used as key devices, companies may migrate to the new platform.